Archive for the ‘Seasonal’ Category


Fireplaces: 7 Burn Practices to Increase Efficiency

November 24th, 2014 by Rainbow International

graphic about burn practices that increase fireplace efficiency

Winter is slowing creeping up on us, and it’s time to crank up the thermostat for more heat! But for some of you, the crackle of a warm, burning fireplace is the heat source of choice. According to the National Association of Home Builders, fireplaces rank among the top three features desired by new homebuyers. However, keep in mind that while wood or gas fireplaces may be a great source of warmth, they also can pose home fire hazards and increased potential for heat loss if not maintained properly.

Before using the fireplace for the first time since last winter, please check the following to help prevent potential fires:

  1. Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep to make sure it’s safe for use this winter. Dust and debris may have collected inside it since last winter, which poses a fire hazard.
  2. Install and make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in your home. Replace the batteries each month to be safe.
  3. Before turning on your gas fireplace, make sure to have your log set cleaned by a professional once a year to prevent any hazards from occurring.
  4. Consider installing an oxygen-depletion sensor in your gas fireplace. This device will act as an extra safety precaution, and will shut off the gas automatically if the temperature is too warm. This also detects if there is an overdose of carbon monoxide.
  5. Burn dried wood that has been cured for eight to 12 months. Woods such as hickory, white oak sugar maple, and white ash burn well if available. Avoid using construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated woods. Ensure wood and paper for the fireplace is placed far enough away from the flames to avoid sparks causing a fire disaster. When stacking wood outside, cover it on top and leave the sides open for airflow. Never overload the fireplace.
  6. Equip the fireplace with a metal screen to stop burning embers or shifting logs from falling out of fireplace and landing on nearby combustibles, which could ignite.
  7. Never burn garbage, rolled newspapers, charcoal or plastic in the fireplace or use gasoline or any liquid accelerant to help start a fire.

Although many homeowners find these steps inconvenient, they can potentially save lives. Wood and gas fireplaces can save you money on your heating bill, just remember to be safe before you flip the switch or strike the match!

Related Articles:

8 Ways to Cut your Home Heating Costs

5 Action Steps to Take After a Fire

Prepare and Practice a Fire Escape Plan



8 Ways to Cut Your Home Heating Costs

November 10th, 2014 by Rainbow International

Graphic about saving on home heating costs

Do steep energy bills send chills down your spine? Well, it’s time to warm up to the benefits of home heating efficiency. Small, inexpensive actions can actually put dollars back into your pocket.

To save money on heating, use these tips from the U.S. Department of Energy and ENERGY STAR, a program that is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

  • Have your heating system serviced by a trained technician from Aire Serv to make sure it is operating properly. An unsafe heater can cause a fire disaster, which can result in property loss and personal injury.
  • Set your thermostat properly or invest in a programmable one. Set the thermostat back when you are not home or asleep. This simple step could save you about $180 a year.
  • Keep the air filter clean. Change the filter once a month during winter months. A dirty or blocked filter lowers the efficiency of your heater and drives up the cost to heat your home.
  • Be sure air flows freely. Make sure supply and return vents, radiators, and baseboard heating units are not obstructed by furniture, appliances, or other objects.
  • Limit the use of kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans. These fans are vented to the outside and will also carry heated air out of your home.
  • Install insulated drapes or shades on windows to prevent drafts. Open the drapes or shades during the day to let warm sunlight in and close them at night or on cloudy days to keep cold out.
  • Seal air leaks around pipes, doors, windows, chimneys, and electrical outlets with caulk or weather stripping. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use due to air leaks.
  • Switch the direction of your ceiling fan blades so that warm air that has risen will be pushed down in your home.  Reversing your fans can reduce your energy costs by 10 percent.

Keep Rainbow International’s number (855-775-8707) with your other emergency contacts, and call in one of their professionals in the unfortunate event your home suffers fire damage caused by home heating or any other catastrophe.

Related Posts:

Prepare and Practice a Fire Escape Plan

Indoor Air Quality Restoration with These 5 Plants

Spark of Disaster: How to Prevent Electrical Fires




Keep An Eye On Hurricane Safety

July 2nd, 2014 by Rainbow International

Hurricanes pose a serious danger to coastal areas. The key to staying safe when a dangerous storm is headed your way is not rushing to your local hardware store to buy wood or dashing to your local grocery store to stock up on water and other food items.

Infographic showing the top ten counties in America at risk of hurricane damage

The key to hurricane safety is:

1: Plan Ahead

2: Listen To Authorities

3: Remain Calm

How do you know if the hurricane risk is serious in your area? Listen closely to the local weather reports and know the difference between advisories in your area.

  • Hurricane Watch – This means hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans and be ready to act if a warning is issued.
  • Hurricane Warning – This means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area when directed to do so by authorities.
  • Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings – This means a tropical storm, which has lower wind speeds than a hurricane, is a threat in your area. Flooding and dangerous winds could occur. Take these advisories seriously.

Living along the coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, and especially if you live in one of the top 10 danger zones which include counties in Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana, puts you at high risk of hurricanes and the dangers they bring. Remember these safety tips to help protect your family and home:

Plan Ahead

  • Pack a “grab and run” backpack that includes food, water, protective clothing, medications, batteries, flashlights, cell phone chargers, battery-powered radio, personal hygiene items, disposable camera, and road maps. Be sure to pack baby and pet supplies if this applies to you.
  • Place important papers, such as medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies, in a waterproof container you can grab quickly. Also, have extra cash on hand for emergencies; credit and debit cards may not work after the storm.
  • Establish a plan for where you will go if you evacuate, when you will leave, and how family members will contact each other once out of the area. Keep your gas tank full on vehicles so this is not a worry when you need to leave quickly.
  • Keep the outside of your home prepared. For example, remove weak or dead trees, keep limbs and bushes trimmed, store trash cans and other items securely, bring lawn furniture and bicycles inside, and anchor swing sets and other equipment to the ground.
  • Prevent safety hazards by turning off propane tanks and unplugging small appliances in your home. Set your refrigerator and freezer on the coldest setting and keep them closed so that food lasts longer if the power goes out.
  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters as you leave. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood you have readily available for this purpose.

Listen to Authorities

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates on the storm.
  • If you evacuate, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Remember that a calm in the storm often signifies the storm’s eye – not its end. If someone is riding out a hurricane, they should wait for authorities to announce that the danger has passed to come out of cover.
  • If you live in a mobile home, or a house that isn’t sturdy enough to stand up to the wind, evacuate early to avoid the stress of traffic jams.

Remain Calm

  • Acknowledge that it is normal to be afraid during a hurricane. Remember to take slow, deep breaths to help lessen the physical reaction to stress and keep anxiety in check.
  • Practice your hurricane escape plan ahead of time to minimize confusion and calm fears during an actual event.
  • Never take unnecessary risks. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Refer to your road maps to find a safe way to escape.
  • Provide games, books, and music players with headphones to children and reassure them that everyone will stay together.

In the News: Hurricane Arthur

As of Thursday, July 3rd, Tropical Storm Arthur was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane.  By the time it reaches North Carolina Thursday evening, it will be a Category 2, and is threatening to ruin more than just everyone’s 4th of July plans.  As a Category 2, Hurricane Arthur will be capable of producing winds up to 110 mph, which are considered extremely dangerous and can cause extensive damage.  If you are in the path of Hurricane Arthur, remember to plan ahead, listen to authorities, and stay calm (and safe!).


American Red Cross,

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),

National Weather Service National Hurricane Center,


Summer Safety Tips for the Outdoors

June 17th, 2014 by Rainbow International

With summer upon us, spending time in the great outdoors is a given.  Ensure your family is able to enjoy the sunshine without unfortunate consequences with our summer safety tips to help you make the most of the summer season.

Backyard Pests

Mosquitos are abuzz in the summer months and can be a royal pain in the neck. And arms. And legs. One tip to avoid helping mosquitoes multiply is to prevent standing water in your yard. Dog water bowls, old plant pots, even a bird feeder can be a breeding ground for these irritating bugs, so make sure to refill water often or keep containers empty if water is not necessary. For birdbaths and dog dishes – just empty and refill frequently. Invest in a quality screen door as well so your frequent trips inside and out won’t allow the bugs entry to your home.

Ants can also be a nuisance in the back yard – keep them away by ensuring bird feeders, pet food, and all picnic items outside are kept well covered. You may want to consider a natural extermination method if they turn in to a bigger problem.

Food Safety

Keeping food safe during picnics and family barbecues is of utmost importance. It only takes a few hours in the sun to turn your potato salad into food poisoning. Leave all food in the fridge until you are ready to eat, and set out coolers for cold items if your kitchen is not easily accessible.  Large bowls of ice under smaller bowls with salads can help keep the temperature under control. Make sure to keep an eye on anything with diary, mayonnaise or meat. If in doubt, throw it out.

Protect Your Pets

Have pets? Make sure if they are kept outside during the day they have access to water and shade. Clean up after your pets frequently, especially if your children play in the same areas. If you have a sandbox cover it when not in use to ensure wild animals (or neighbors cats) are not using it for a litter box.

Stay In The Shade

Sunburn is always a risk – even when the sun is not shining! Make sure everyone has access to a high SPF sunscreen, hats, shade, and plenty of cool drinks. Remember to reapply sunscreen every few hours and more frequently if you are in the swimming pool or lake.

Caution With Chemicals

Make sure all chemicals and fluids you keep in a shed are sealed and out of site for when children are in the backyard. Take precautions when barbecuing especially if you are using propane. And of course, always remember to be careful when using power tools, chainsaws and lawn mowers – one second of losing focus can result in serious injury.

If you follow many of these tips to ensure safety in the outdoors for your family and friends, you should be able to enjoy a wonderful, fun-filled summer!


Beach Safety Tips

June 11th, 2014 by Rainbow International

June is the perfect time to take a break, hit the beach and enjoy a little summer fun. However, when heading to the beach, it’s important to stay safe. Now that summer is here, Rainbow International offers these important safety tips to keep in mind while on the beach and enjoying the water.

Beach Safety

  • Always apply sunscreen to prevent sunburns. Reapply often.
  • Bring water bottles to the beach and drink often to stay hydrated.
  • Take frequent breaks to get away from the sun.
  • Grab a healthy snack, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Wear shoes when walking on the beach to protect the bottom of your feet from burning or stepping on sharp objects.

Ocean Safety

  • Pay attention to warning flags on the beach. Different flags may have different meanings, so be aware and ask a lifeguard if you aren’t sure about a flag’s meaning.
  • Pick a swimming area close to a lifeguard, so that he or she will be able to quickly notice and assist you.
  • Be aware of ocean life, such as crabs, jellyfish and sharks. Some jellyfish are more poisonous than others and can cause severe harm. If you are stung, notify a lifeguard immediately.

Water and Rip Currents

Educate yourself about rip currents
Photo courtesy of

  • Rip currents are strong water currents that run out to the sea from a beach. Common signs are water that appears dark, debris floating out to sea and murky brown water caused by sand and seaweed being stirred up off the seabed.
  • If you find yourself caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight the current. It’s important to conserve your energy. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.
  • If you can’t break free of the current, tread water until you are free of the current and head to shore.

By following these beach safety tips provided by Rainbow International, you can have a fun and stress-free break at the beach.


New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

January 28th, 2014 by Rainbow International

Home Improvement Ideas for the New Year

Use our handy infographic to get yourself on track for keeping the New Year’s resolutions you made to your home for the 2014.  The beginning of the year is the perfect time to start thinking about home improvement ideas, or to finish up projects you have put off for a while.

Quick Tip #1:  Ditch the Clutter and Organize

If you haven’t worn an item in the past year, then it’s time to donate or sell.

Quick Tip #2:  Decorate!

If you can’t afford to renovate, decorate! Move art around in the house.

Quick Tip #3: Clean Your Fireplace

If you haven’t used your fireplace in the last year or more, schedule an inspection to ensure your fireplace is working properly and safely.

Quick Tip #4: Home Energy Audit

Contact a trusted professional auditor with Rainbow International® who can perform many different tests throughout your home to detect energy leaks.


How to Create an Allergy/Asthma-Friendly Environment Through Green Living

April 9th, 2013 by Rainbow International

You’re probably already aware of the many benefits that green living has for the environment. However, you might not often think about the many ways in which this lifestyle can really affect the human body. Consider these points, which posit that green living can actually help people to better deal with asthma and their allergies. It’s an intriguing school of thought, but also extremely beneficial!

Pollution from Cars
For the most serious of asthmatic patients, greeting a burst of pollution from a car might mean a trip to the hospital. Furthermore, seasonal allergens in the air can be increase through interaction with cars. Instead of going for that gas guzzler the next time you buy a car, choose one that is Eco-friendly. These types of cars get more miles per gallon of gas, so you don’t have to worry about polluting the environment quite as much. If you are able to encourage other people to do so too, you can really make a difference.

Organic Foods
People are really starting to question why individuals seem to have higher rates of allergies and asthma than ever before, and some believe that it’s due to genetically modified organisms found in foods or certain types of chemicals often used in the production of foods. By choosing organic foods, you can help eliminate these issues both on a personal level (by treating your body right) and global level (by decreasing demand for GMOs and non-organic food).

Choosing Green Cleaners
As you are spraying a bunch of cleaners around your house, you might think that you are doing a great favor to yourself or the environment. Instead, you are really polluting the very home you live in with unnecessary chemicals. Not only can these chemicals possibly contribute to allergies and asthma, they can be dangerous for your children and pets. Therefore, you should look for environmentally friendly cleaners in your local supermarket or other store to cut back on this risk. Many people actually choose to make their own cleaning supplies out of green ingredients you can buy at any grocery store. Thousands of frugal recipes exist depending on what and where you need to clean.

Alternative Medical Remedies
Another often-cited source of our problems is the chemicals, hormones and other substances that might get pumped into people when they go to the doctor. You should never jump head first into a new medical regimen, but choosing alternative medical remedies might be helpful to you. For example, some feel that exposure to mild allergens can actually help people to get over these allergies better than medicinal methods currently in use to treat allergies. However, it is really important that you avoid using any potentially dangerous methods, especially when it comes to your children. If you find an alternative remedy that sounds like it could be for you, talk to your doctor about it. If it’s a household change, be sure to ask about the effects on any elderly or children you have living with you, who have very different respiratory, immune and digestive systems.

Green living can certainly have a positive effect on the lives of people who suffer from allergies and/pr asthma. However, you can’t always guarantee that these methods will work, and it’s important to pick methods that are right for both you and your family. Think about the big picture when you are deciding what to do in terms of health, nutrition, comfort and finance.

Author Pam Johnson is a nurse who constantly stresses to her patients the importance of a natural lifestyle as a way to increase health, She is a contributing writer for the Associates Degree in Nursing Guide.


Spring Cleaning Starter List

April 2nd, 2013 by Rainbow International

When spring appears, so does the sunshine – and with that often it becomes obvious how unclean your house actually is. The sun filtering in seems to just bounce off the dust and grime.

If you are ready for a spring clean, you may find these tips useful in achieving an immaculate home. Make sure to play some lively, summer music to keep your spirits high.

  • Wash windows by using newspaper instead of paper towel or a cloth that may streak
  • Flip and rotate your mattress to keep wear and tear even on all sides. Now is a good opportunity to vacuum the mattress as well.
  • Wash curtains and wipe down all blinds
  • Pull everything out of your fridge to clean – and don’t forget to toss any condiments that have expired
  • Run the dishwasher through with no dishes to clean out the working parts
  • Dust before you vacuum or wash floors as the particles will settle on the ground
  • Wash all pillows and comforters/quilts to rid them of pollen and dust
  • Disinfect cutting boards and organize all cupboards holding dishes and pots and pan – recycle ones you never use
  • Steam clean all upholstery – if you are renting a machine do your car at the same time!
  • Wash or replace all indoor and outdoor mats
  • Unpack summer clothes and air them out. Use this opportunity to pack up winter clothes, and get rid of what you didn’t wear all season.
  • Pull out both the stove and fridge to vacuum and clean behind
  • Wash and repair all outdoor furniture
  • Clean your garbage disposal by running it with ice cubes and citrus peels inside
  • Make sure to have maintenance done on your air conditioner
  • Clean your mops, brooms and even garbage cans – prevent more mess from being pushed around your home

Once you are finished cleaning – remember to reward yourself with a nice glass of lemonade in your sparkling clean home!


World Water Day

March 22nd, 2013 by Rainbow International

Today is World Water Day! World Water Day began in 1993 to promote the importance of fresh water to those who live without it around the world. The event’s purpose is to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Beginning in 2003, the UN-Water has been responsible for selecting a yearly theme for World Water Day. This year, in reflection of the International Year of Water Cooperation, this day is dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water.

Take a moment today to see how you can get involved in World Water Day! Many communities hold events but even if your town is not, you can work with charities such as, and


Six Expert Spring Cleaning Tips for a Tidy, Healthy Home

March 21st, 2013 by Rainbow International

It is spring, but along with the blooming of flowers and warmer weather comes the daunting task of spring cleaning. It’s time to open the windows and tackle those chores with these six tips from Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Rooter® and Rainbow International®.

According to Mr. Appliance, a dishwasher can be cleaned using a small brush dipped in hot soapy water. With the brush, clean the grooves in the rubber seal by going around the door of the dishwasher. Then, place a dishwasher-safe cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run a normal cycle.

Using a hand-held vacuum, remove the dust from coils underneath or on the backside of the fridge. Accumulated dust can cause the motor to overheat and increase the cost of running the appliance.

To achieve a fresh smelling sink, keep leftover citrus peels. Mr. Rooter recommends putting a cupful of ice cubes as well as citrus peels in the garbage disposal. Turn on cold water and then the disposal for 15 to 30 seconds. Then, turn off the disposal and continue to rinse with hot water for 15 seconds.

When washing windows, wipe vertically outside and horizontally inside, so any missed areas can quickly be spotted. Glass Doctor, suggests drying the windows as you go with a squeegee or a micro-fiber towel to avoid water spots.

Air Conditioner
Have your central air conditioning system inspected by a HVAC professional, like Aire Serv, before the summer hits. The air conditioner keeps your home cool and it dehumidifies to keep mold from growing inside the walls. Clean or replace air filters monthly to help the AC unit run more efficiently. Remove shrubs, grass and leaves from the condenser coil and within three feet of outside unit.

Rain Gutters
Although often forgotten, rain gutters are important for home defense against storms. According to Rainbow International, water from rain can erode soil around the foundation, splash dirt onto the siding and leak into the basement causing expensive damage.

Utilizing these simple tips in your spring cleaning arsenal can help save you time, frustration and money down the line. Not to mention, you can rest easy in a clean and healthy home.